USC Faces Oregon State Saturday At Galen
Jan. 18, 2013
USC (7-11, 2-3) will be hosting Oregon State (10-7, 0-4) at the Galen Center on Jan. 19 at 5 p.m. USC is 3-3 in its last six games.
CANTU TAKES OVER -- Bob Cantu was named interim head coach on Jan. 14, taking over for Kevin O'Neill who was relieved of his duties. Cantu's Trojans fell 76-74 vs. No. 21 Oregon at the Galen Center on Jan. 17. Cantu is in his 12 season with the USC basketball program and 17th at the collegiate level. In 2011, he was thrust into the head coach's role hours before USC's Pac-10 Tournament semifinal game against regular season champion Arizona. The Trojans under Cantu took No. 16 Arizona down to the wire before losing, 67-62. So counting 2011, four of the first six games in which Cantu gets to lead the Trojans, they are facing a top 25 opponent.
BREAKING DOWN THE BEAVERS -- Oregon State (10-7, 0-4) lost 74-64 at UCLA on Jan. 17 to start its road trip. The Beavers opened Pac-12 play with home losses to Oregon, Arizona State and Arizona. Oregon State has six players averaging in double figures in scoring, led by Roberto Nelson with a 15.5 average. USC leads the all-time series with Oregon State, 67-59 and has won seven of the last eight home games against the Beavers.
TROJANS' COMEBACK COMES UP SHORT AGAINST No. 21 OREGON -- Jio Fontan's three-pointer and two point-blank shots missed in the closing seconds and USC fell 76-74 to No. 21 Oregon at the Galen Center on Jan. 17. The Trojans trailed for all but 30 seconds very early in the first half, but would not let the Ducks pull away. USC cut the lead to 66-64 with 4:31 left on a layup by Omar Oraby. The Ducks then seemingly put the game away when they opened up a 10-point lead with 2:57 to go, but USC would not surrender. A Wise layup and two free throws by Oraby cut the lead to six, then after a Singler miss, Wise nailed a three-pointer to cut the lead to 75-72 with 1:25 left. Two free throws with 33 seconds left by J.T. Terrell cut the lead to one. USC was forced to foul and Dominic Artis made one of two shots to set up Fontan's late attempt for the win. USC has lost its last six games to Oregon, all by 10 points or less. Terrell led USC with a season-best 22 points.
ARIZONA STATE ON DECK -- Arizona State (14-3, 3-1) will host No. 7 Arizona on Jan. 19 before the Trojans travel to Tempe, Ariz. for a game on Jan. 24 at 8:30 p.m. (MT). ASU already has four more victories than last season (10-21). Freshman Jahii Carson (16.9 ppg) and senior Carrick Felix (15.3 ppg) lead the Sun Devils in scoring. Junior center Jordan Bachynski averages 9.9 points and lead the conference with 73 blocks. USC leads the all-time series with ASU, 51-35, but lost both games last season.
NOT SO FUNNY MATH... -- USC has made 28 more field goals that its opponents this season, yet has been outscored by 6 points. USC's opponents have made 113 three-pointers to the Trojans' 88 and have made 37 more free throws. In eight of the last 10 games USC has had as many or more baskets as its opponents, yet is 4-6 in that stretch. USC has also had as many or more baskets in five of the 11 losses this season.
DEFENSE TIGHTENING -- USC has held the opposition to an average of 61.6 points over the last nine games, after surrendering an average of 67.9 points in the first nine games.
OFFENSE STARTING TO CLICK -- USC has averaged 69.0 points in the first five conference games this season, to rank fourth in points per game among Pac-12 schools. Also, USC leads all Pac-12 teams with a 45.2 shooting percentage in conference games.
BATTLING THE BEST -- USC and Kansas are the only two schools in the country to have played 7 or more games this season against teams ranked in the RPI Top 50.
NICE TIME TO START...! -- Everyone knows about USC's early season tough schedule with five of seven games against teams currently ranked in the top 25, but interim head coach Bob Cantu is not catching any breaks, either. First Cantu's team faced No. 21 Oregon (15-2) at home, then hosts Oregon State (10-7) on Jan 19, then plays at ASU (14-3) on Jan. 24, at No. 7 Arizona (15-1) on Jan. 26 and at No. 24 UCLA (15-3) on Jan. 30. The teams have a combined 69-16 record and the three games on the road will be against teams that are a combined 31-2 at home this season.
GUARDING THE LINE -- USC has allowed the opposition to make 36.9 percent of its three-point attempts this season, but has made adjustments and is holding opponents to 31.8 percent from beyond the arc in the last 10 games (49-for-154). In the first eight games USC's opponents made 42.1 percent of its three-point shots.